2 Guns review: buddy cops, slight of hand

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2 Guns yellow light Denzel Washington Mark Wahlberg

Oddly took some advice not intended for movies: “Be specific but not memorable. Be funny but don’t make ’em laugh.”
I’m “biast” (pro): love Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s the weirdest thing. All I could think of while smack dab in the middle of 2 Guns is Brad Pitt’s advice to Matt Damon in Ocean’s Eleven on how to be invisible, but not noticeably invisible, while pulling a con: “Be specific but not memorable. Be funny but don’t make him laugh. He’s got to like you then forget you the moment you’ve left his side.” Kinda not what you want outta a buddy-cop action comedy. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur has pulled a repeat of his equally meh Contraband, another crime action thingie in which Mark Wahlberg was also the most appealing thing. Sure, Wahlberg (Pain and Gain) is teamed up with Denzel Washington (Flight) here, but that doesn’t make the flick twice as appealing, as you might expect. These two thrown-together undercover federal agents — Wahlberg is Naval Intelligence, Washington is DEA — go up against a Edward James Olmos’s (The Green Hornet) Mexican drug lord and Bill Paxton’s (Haywire) insane CIA lord over cash stashed in a small-town border bank that the good guys steal while pretending to be bad guys. (It’s complicated, in a specific but not memorable way.) It’s all drawn from a graphic novel by Steven Grant [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] and features tons of distasteful fun with torture — of humans and animals — that’s meant to be amusing, and a spin on the damsel-in-distress that is more offensive than usual because it’s so dumb. “I didn’t want to get you involved,” Washington must apologize to Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), except she’s his DEA partner. She’s, you know, already involved and doesn’t need to be protected from her job… though of course she’s mostly here only to be used as bait when the drug lord needs to motivate Washington. This might also be the most cynical lighthearted buddy-cop summertime action comedy ever: every single institution here is so corrupt that it makes ordinary movie corruption look like Girl Scouts skimming from the cookie money. Which is made even worse by the realization that if the movie goes this far, it’s all probably much worse in reality. Still: Wahlberg and Washington! They’re really funny together. I just can’t quite recall exactly how.

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Fri, Aug 30, 2013 4:12pm

I’m not that fond of the principals, but Olmos and Paxton are almost always worth watching. I’m guessing they don’t get all that much screen time, though.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  RogerBW
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 5:25pm

They both have numerous scenes, including one together but without the leads. Fred Ward however has only one short scene.